Serious Play (Book)

Modern Clown Performance

Slapstick comedy is the primary mode of performance for clowns, and in Serious Play, drama scholar Louise Peacock explores the evolution over the past fifty years of this unique brand of physical comedy. Though an analysis of clowning in a range of settings—theaters, circuses, hospitals, refugee camps, and churches—Peacock offers a framework for the evaluation of clowning, and she examines the therapeutic potential of the comedic performance. This is the first book to consider clowning venues and styles in light of play theory, including comparisons of traditional clown comedy and contemporary circuses like Cirque du Soleil. A distinctive study, Serious Play also provides authoritative definitions of clowns and clown performance styles that establishes a critical vocabulary for clowning performance.

Category: Performing Arts

Edition

Clowns’ slapstick is their primary mode of performance and allows them to provoke audiences to laughter wherever they perform. This innovative book, focussing on contemporary practice in the USA and Europe over the last 50 years, investigates the nature and function of clown performance in modern society. Through analysis of clowning in a range of settings - theatre, the circus, hospitals, refugee camps and churches - Peacock establishes a theoretical framework for the evaluation of physical comedy.Peacock explores clowning that takes place outside of conventional venues, and also the therapeutic potential of clowning in clown doctor organisations, refugee camps and war zones. Serious Play: Modern Clown Performance is the first book of its kind to consider clowning performance venues and performance styles in the light of Play Theory, including comparisons of traditional clown comedy with contemporary circuses such as Circus OZ and Cirque du Soleil, and an in-depth look at famous clowns such as Nola Rae and Slava Polunin.

Louise Peacock is a lecturer in drama at the University of Hull.

Related Titles